UNION (Hunterdon) – The quick actions of two off duty New Jersey State Troopers who were on their way to work Wednesday are being credited with helping to save the life of a man in an Interstate 78 armored truck crash.
According to the State Police, Lt. Porfirio Ayala, station commander for the NJSP Metro North Unit in Irvington, came upon the crash scene shortly before 9 a.m. and called for assistance as he rushed in to assess the situation. Trooper Stephen Kempinski of the Gangs & Organized Crime Unit heard the call while on his way to work and turned around to see how he could help.
Both Troopers had taken a tactical first aid course sponsored by the U.S. Army and were trained in the use of tourniquets, State Police said.
Ayala told Kempinski that the victim, Fidel Martinez, 54, of Harrison, was bleeding from a severe injury to his upper thigh. Kempinski grabbed a tourniquet from his car and applied it. The bleeding continued through his trousers and the two calmed Martinez and reapplied the tourniquet at the top of his leg to stop the blood flow.
With diesel fuel pooling around their feet, the Troopers moved Martinez to a safe location and wrapped him to keep him warm until the Clinton Township Rescue Squad arrived and assumed his care.
“The Troopers were able to use their training, equipment and experience to give the victim every opportunity to survive,” said “Bucky” Buchanan, Operations Chief for the Clinton Township Rescue Squad.
“These Troopers were not on patrol or in uniform. They were on their way to work, but they knew the duty to protect and serve the public is a 24/7 commitment. I could not be prouder of their fast actions in this critical response,” said Colonel Rick Fuentes, State Police superintendent.
Martinez was transported by State Police helicopter to St. Luke’s Hospital in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He remains in critical condition, State Police said.
Sharayah Gardner, 25, of Newark, the truck driver, lost control of the 2012 Brinks truck and struck the guide rail in the center median and then a bridge pillar. She was not injured in the crash, which remains under investigation.
Originally published here.